A co-worker at my 9 to 5 recently broke down crying in the middle of a meeting. When we asked what was wrong, she said: “I hate it here. I hate it here so much, but I have no other options.” Hearing something like that from a young, talented and smart person was really unnerving. It was especially unnerving because I used to feel and think that way just a few years ago.
Our 9 to 5 jobs provide us with some sense of comfort, belonging, camaraderie and financial security. Often besides the pay, our J.O.B.s offer great benefits for us and our family. They also give us a feeling of complacency and after a while we feel that it’s the only job or a way of earning a living out there. And so when one day we find ourselves no longer liking what we do or straight up hating every minute of being there, we feel like we are stuck there with no other options.
There is no such thing as no other options. Not with a job, a relationship or a living arrangement. There are always options out there. They might not seem perfect, or doable, but they are out there.
We get so get used to where we’re at and so afraid to change, we think that’s all there is. Our lizard brain is trying to save us from the possible dangers of doing something differently but in the process keeps us miserable and unhappy.
When you are stuck at your job, neighborhood, relationship or financial hole, you’re so afraid to make it any worse that you don’t even try to look and see what’s there. It’s like you’re wearing blinders that let you see only what you want to see and nothing more. There are no options out there, you say.
Well, here is the thing about the options. You won’t see them until you look for them.
Our minds work in a funny way. They filter out everything that they deem unnecessary. That includes better options for us. If you’re not looking for it, you won’t see it. You know how you’re thinking about a certain car and all of the suddenly EVERYBODY drives it? Guess what? All those car were there this whole time, you just didn’t see them, you mind filtered them out.
We all have options. We can all change the way we live our lives, they way we are being treated, where we live and what we do for a living. We only have a limited amount of years to live, might as well live them the way that makes us happy. We spend way too much time making others around us happy all while we are suffering and crying inside.
What do you want for yourself? What is it that YOU truly want? If you don’t know, figure it out. If you know what it is, go for it. Yes, it won’t happen right away, not many things do, but it won’t happen at all if you don’t start working on it. Take small steps every day to the better you, to the happier version of you.
Start with your state of mind. We all create our own prisons. We live in our heads and create our own realities. We get so caught up in them we think they are real. But they are not. They are just perceptions of what we see through the filters of our feelings at that moment. What we think is happening, what we think other people think of us, what things are “happening to us”, all of it is created in our mind.
If you think that’s not true, why do people always have “their version” of the story? Why are accident scenes described differently by different people?
Once you realize HOW MUCH influence and control you have over your world and what’s happening in it, you will start taking action and doing something about building it just the way you want it.
Understand that if you don’t take charge of your own reality other people will do it for you – on their terms. If you are ok swimming passively through life, accept the fact that you’ll be like a boat without sails, taken by water anywhere it feels like.
This is what creates an unhappiness and hopelessness in your life – you feel like you have no control over what’s happening to you. Well, of course. You DO NOT, others do IF you let them.
I lived many years of my life feeling this way, blaming everyone around me for doing things to me, against me, etc. I had that victim mentality where I felt like it was always someone else’s fault for what happened in my life. Until one day it was all I could take.
I decided to take charge of things that were happening to me.
Believe me, it wasn’t all at once and voila, I was free. I had to take small steps to reclaim myself, every day. It took all the years of my life to give up the control over my life to others, so it was taking a while to regain it all back.
Since doing all the work up in your head is hard, I needed a physical anchor to what I was doing. I started with the money since I knew there was a lot of stress associated with money in my life.
I took a hard look at all my debts, all my credit card accounts, all my spending habits. I tracked every penny I spent every day (I still do). I created spreadsheets and crunched numbers. I laid out a plan.
I knew it would take me over 2 years to pay off the debts and I was ok with that, I knew there would be the light at the end of the tunnel.
I also laid out a plan to save 6 months worth of my pay so I could feel free to leave my job if I wanted and remove that dependency in my mind and my life. Having no debt and a money back-up released a huge amount of stress I was feeling and made my job more bearable. Nothing changed at my actual job, all the same pressures, people and situations were still there, but my perception of it all changed because I changed the way I looked at it.
Once my money was taken care of, I decided to fulfill my dream of many years and start my own online business, the ultimate escape plan from my 9 to 5 job.
To me having my own business was the ultimate form of freedom and self expression. To be in charge of what I do, to make a difference, to feel like what I do matters.
From the success I had with paying off 45K of debt I saw that with a system and consistency I could start and grow my business as well as deal with other hang ups in my life.
I took on learning about all things online business to give it the best shot I could give. I took up yoga and meditation to help me keep up a positive mindset and overall well-being. If you ask me, I am always in a middle of another mindset, manifestation, positivity, self-empowerment book, podcast or course.
I will be the first to admit, it’s an ongoing effort. The world around us doesn’t stop and so shouldn’t our efforts of dealing with what it throws at us. Building the life of your dreams takes daily effort, as all good things require, but your life will pass if you work on it or not, so might as well make the most of it. When you’re old, and you’re telling the stories of your life, what do you think will sound better – your wins or your regrets?
Don’t be hopeless, you always have options, you always have choices. Decide what is that you truly want in your life, and if it’s still hard to figure out, start with a small, immediate goal and make a plan on how you’re going to achieve it. Knowing that you are DOING SOMETHING about the circumstances of your life will make you feel empowered. Do a small step every day and acknowledge all your successes, no matter how small they are. I used to celebrate every time I saved a $20/mo in my savings account. Might seem minuscule to someone, but to me it was a win.
Find your wins and celebrate them.
Know your truth and don’t let others convince you otherwise.
Don’t settle for what other people tell you or give you, define your goals and work on them every day.
How do you want to be remembered? How do you want to remember your own life?
Pick wins over regrets.